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Intel Core i5-8250U vs Core i5-7300HQ – 8th gen ULV vs 7th gen HQ

Although the Intel Core i5-8250U is barely available on the market, it seems to strike quite a lot of attention and performance seems quite promising. We compared the chip to its direct predecessor the Core i5-7200U and as you can imagine the comparison turned out like expected – the quad-core design really helps performance.

The other day we also mentioned that the Core i5-8250U has surpassed even the Core i5-7300HQ in our Top Laptop CPU Ranking. This is why we want to make a detailed comparison between the two chips. It seems like a rather unfair battle – a high-performance chip vs an ultra-low voltage one – but leave a place for surprises.

For the purpose of this comparison, we are using the recently released 15-inch version of the Acer Swift 3 and the excellent budget gaming option the Lenovo Legion Y520. You can check their full specs and prices in our Laptops Specs system:

VS

Specs comparison

There are a lot of differences in the specifications sheets of these two chips but there are also a few important similarities. One similarity is that they are both quad-core processors, however, only the Core i5-8250U supports Intel’s Hyper-Threading technology. The core count here is not so important. What really makes the difference is the fact that while the Core i5-7300HQ needs 45W to power its four cores, the Core i5-8250U does the same with Hyper-Threading in mind with just 15W. That’s three times less power consumption.

Of course, this is not magic and corners had to be cut to run so many threads with so little power – the base clock of the Core i5-8250U is very low – 1.60GHz it is like a Celeron or Pentium processor while the Core i5-7300HQ is clocked at the reasonable 2.50GHz. Nonetheless, the engineers at Intel have found their way around and the Core i5-8250U can deliver high performance by boosting up to 3.40GHz when needed. This frequency is still 100MHz lower than the Turbo clock of the Core i5-7300HQ.

The Core i5-7300HQ has some perks compared to the Core i5-8250U. It can support double the amount of system memory – 64GB. It also features a better GPU – the HD Graphics 630 which opposed to the UHD Graphics 620 on the Core i5-8250U have a 50MHz higher base frequency (350MHz vs 300MHz) but 100MHz lower maximum frequency (1.0GHz vs 1.1GHz). However, the UHD Graphics 620 is merely a rebranded HD Graphics 620 so the HD 630 should be a tad better.

Benchmarks

In the charts and graphs below, you can see that both chips are fairly equal. In fact, the Core i5-8250U is slightly better and for some reason a lot better in NovaBench 3. It seems that the higher number of threads thanks to the Hyper-Threading technology make up for the overall lower clock speeds and manage to pull out an even higher performance than the Core i5-7300HQ at least on paper.

The difference between the performance of the two chips should be practically unnoticeable but what’s important is that one of the CPUs is rated at 45W and the other at 15W.

 Cinebench 11Cinebench 15 NovaBench 3 PhotoshopFritz 
Core i5-8250U 5.95 (+2%)531 (+3%)878 (+67%)10.70s (-18%) 10449 (+7%)
Core i5-7300HQ5.8251652713s 9775

Results are from the Cinebench 20 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)

Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)

Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)

Acer Swift 3 (SF315-41, SF315-51) CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the Acer Swift 3 (SF315-41, SF315-51) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Acer Swift 3 (SF315-41, SF315-51) model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different CPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / CPU.

Results are from the Cinebench 20 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)

Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)

Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)

Conclusion

Overall, both chips are equally powerful. In our case, the Core i5-8250U is a bit better than the Core i5-7300HQ but this could have a lot to do with the cooling systems and other aspects of the two notebooks. That’s why to be fair we will rate them as equals.

With that said, it seems like the Core i5-8250U loses some of the uniqueness that we emphasized before. To make things clear, both chips are equal in performance but better than each other in different cases. Overall, the Core i5-8250U is a champion for its high performance with only 15W of power which as we said before can spark a new series of powerful yet efficient notebooks.

On the other hand, the Core i5-7300HQ has some perks that put it a step forward of the Core i5-8250U. It supports up to 64GB of RAM instead of only 32GB and it features a better iGPU – the HD Graphics 630. It is also $47 cheaper on Intel’s official site so we can expect notebooks equipped with it to be more affordable for the next few months.

The choice is up to you and your preferences but maybe the Core i5-8250U is the better choice as it is newer and less power-hungry which will improve the battery life problem with a lot of notebooks. Stay tuned for our Core i7-8550U comparisons!

All laptops with Intel Core i5-8250U

All laptops with Intel Core i5-7300HQ